Why eloping is so appealing to me

By Cynthia Ayeza, Uganda:

It is becoming increasingly difficult, and even annoying to respond to the many inquisitions about why I am still single. Forgive me if I seem obsessed with this issue. I do not mean to be single. In fact, I do not mean to attract these questions. Recently, a friend of a friend asked my friend why I am still single given that I am both “beautiful and smart/intelligent”. Can I just point out how refreshing that was for me? The thought that being both beautiful and smart/intelligent could be a major attraction for men, as opposed to the common and now stereotypical thought that men are intimidated by a woman who is both beautiful and smart/intelligent. What a relief. There is hope after all – assuming that marriage is very important to me. This brings me to what I really want to write about – elopement.

Elopement is often used to refer to a marriage conducted in sudden and secretive fashion; usually involving hurried flight away from one’s place of residence together with one’s beloved with the intention of getting married. Today the term “elopement” is colloquially used for any marriage performed in haste or in private or without a public period of engagement. Some couples elope because they dislike or cannot afford an expensive wedding ceremony, or wish to avoid objections from parents.

At a church I attend and the various ones I attended before then, for a couple to get married, it had to be announced in church for a number of weeks before the actual wedding took place. If there were/are any objections against the couple getting married, this period would/should then be used to bring such information forward. However, announcing in church a couple's intentions to marry has seemingly become a platform to show off and perhaps shrink even more, those single ladies that are slowly but surely becoming the stereotypical “old maidens”.

Elopement for me means freedom; being able to live my life, in agreed compromise with the person I have chosen, who has also chosen me – for the rest of our lives – hopefully, happily ever after. We all know that after the “I do” the real work sets in. However, marriage in general is a compromise made by two parties perhaps because as a team they would rather face life than as individuals/singles. Elopement even though seemingly dangerous because you might just marry your cousin or brother (thanks to adventurous parents sowing wild oats all over the place) could work well for all because it is cheap, uncomplicated and fast/quick/time-saving. In comparison, a wedding involving parents, the church, and long lost, near and recently added relatives, not forgetting friends and friends of friends of friends, could cost you years into your future.

Many marriages today start off with huge debts from the huge wedding budgets; huge weddings and lavish honeymoons – where more money is spent shopping. Why not elope and enjoy a small, cozy-personal experience with the one you have chosen and start off your marriage free of the tension that debt brings with it? In fact with elopement, you could have the wedding at your dream location – anywhere you like in the world.

I have considered the idea of elopement. I do not think my father would disagree with the idea. But what if he did, would I cease to be his daughter? Wouldn't he get over it eventually once I am happily married? What is so taboo about eloping as opposed to a huge “keeping-up-appearances” wedding where you say “I do, 'til death do us part” to a disaster waiting to happen? Lately, and this is no surprise to us, divorce is more common than successful marriages. But even more, divorce is proving to be more costly than the high-end wedding. Elopement on the other hand sounds like a realistic approach: people get to mind their business and you mind yours; you can choose whether or not to invite a witness; you can choose whatever destination for a honeymoon or not etc. Above all, you can start life without stress from unnecessary debts incurred as a result of wanting to keep up appearances.

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14 thoughts on “Why eloping is so appealing to me”

  1. I attended a wedding reception sometime last year where the bride got sick and left us us at the reception with the groom. Rumor had it (from her close friends), that it must have been as a result of fatigue from all the stress of organizing the wedding and the few procurement disappointments that had happened on the D-day. So much for a mammoth wedding reception.
    Elope away…i will be behind cheering you on. 🙂

    1. Sad…and it could have been the best day of her life. Simply too many keeping up appearances weddings. Wouldn’t succumb to them.

  2. Yes, yes, yes. Elope. It’s cheaper, less stressful and yes, people will eventually get over it(not so sure about your dad tho!) The process of a wedding is incredibly stressful, resource intensive if not wasteful venture that can be a greater hurdle to a marriage starting off well than the celebration its meant to be.
    I don’t condemn anyone who wants to elope. If we had to do it all over again, my wife and I are certain we would elope. Heck, maybe will 🙂

    1. hahahha I would so support you guys if you did. My dad would get over it 🙂 I mentioned it to him in passing…he stayed, then laughed nervously. I have my backup evidence for him 🙂 Eloping is the right ish in my opinion.

  3. Not a bad idea- considering that many young men end up starting new homes for their in-laws. What do u call buying a car, satelite tv equipment, sofas, land titles- like the wmn will gv birth to 3D kids or that that will mk the newly weds’ marriage any happier? But u hv to figure out a few other technical issues. But its a great idea- esp cz marriage is a union btn two (or more people, am reminded) but not the whole wide world!

    1. hahhaha i like the 3D kids part…crazy how the pressure can never match the drama that awaits you in the end. It is indeed between two people – am not keen on the “or more” part 🙂 but yes, elopement it is for me (hopefully)

  4. Ayeza, you speak my heart on this one.

    Strangeness is that I wouldn’t want to feel indebted to my friends who have contributed to our mammoth reception and have them gossip about all the things that went wrong after the fact.

    Simple and sweet is how I like mine, thank you very much. I know an important couple in my life that eloped, so I believe therein lies my blessing to do so as well – without reservation.

    Thank you muchly for this one, lovely 🙂

  5. a great man once said, ‘to elope, one must first find one to elope with’ [worth eloping with]
    nice piece (Y)

    1. Tebogo, I understand. i think for many, it would be hard to pull it off. A destination wedding, small and intimate sounds like a great option – one I would even take.

  6. Naye namwe…Edith stuff going wrong is part of life as is what people say…that should never be reason for not having a wedding that you can afford. But eloping nooo….just go to the magistrate and we shall be fine. Me i am for a berbecue with close family and friends later 🙂

  7. Am planning a very small wedding but the thought creeps up every now and then…”elopement would be easier 😉 “

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